What Can’t Video Do? You Can Leverage New Services With Surveillance

Video surveillance is the workhorse of physical security. It is often the starting point of any specification and can be integrated with access control, intrusion detection and other connected technologies. It also serves well on its own as a stand-alone detection solution.

Higher resolutions, high-definition cameras and the proliferation of intelligent analytics have compounded the product category’s capabilities. It’s the new norm and commonplace for customers to use their smartphones to check video in their homes or offices or to authorize entry remotely. That’s just the cusp of video surveillance’s capabilities. Video is a great way to add valuable services for your customers or gain clients by enticing them with new functionality available to assist with business management or operations.

Here’s what video can do:

Replace/supplement guards: Multitenant properties may have a guard on-site during regular hours or overnight. Others use guard services for specific hours and engage video monitoring as directed by the building owner or facility manager. Video can be used as a force multiplier—pairing guards with technology—while cutting back staffing. Video guarding realizes a direct and sizable cost savings from reduced labor and is especially popular for protecting fixed assets in a facility.

Visually verify alarms: Video verification provides situational awareness to alarm users, dispatchers and first responders. Cities and municipalities may require video verification of an event to ascertain if it’s an actual alarm in progress before dispatching. Without verification, owners risk fines or even nonresponse by authorities. The ability to verify an alarm by sending a live video to the end-user enables them to make the decision on the urgency and gather intelligence on the scene. EMERgency24, Des Plaines, Ill., has developed the Video Filtered Response Program that shows users video clips first, so they can decide whether to request dispatch or dismiss the alarm, said Kevin Lehan, Wisconsin branch manager.

“It brings down the price and allows more people to get video monitoring at a lower cost,” he said.

Concierge service: Multitenant high-rises or office buildings can leverage video as concierge or visitor management; for instance, residents could allow allowing visitors, deliveries and contractors access after hours. Video of visitors is sent to management or the monitoring center for verification and approval of credentials before granting access, while cameras continue to watch over the process.

Remote monitoring: Locations over large campuses or isolated environments can deploy video to check operations, verify compliance, investigate processes or assess the validity of intruder alarms without physically visiting the site. In addition, two-way voice coupled with video can be used to talk to those on-site and determine their purpose for being in the area—warning that police will be contacted if the visitor is unauthorized.

Video-triggered alarms: Surveillance can be used as alarm detection and to monitor sensitive areas. Camera analytics determine if the intelligence gathered from the disturbance in a predetermined area requires a response and sends a clip or live stream to monitoring operations or the end-user for further evaluation.

“Video processing software has become event- and activity-based,” said Chris Brown, vice president of Central Stations, SureView Systems, Tampa, Fla. The company offers security-monitoring software for integrated systems technologies.

“The industry, the client’s needs and technology have all caught up,” Brown said. “If we can hear, see and speak at the customer’s site, how can we affect behavior at this level? How do we prevent a crime and also help HR and the marketing team? Video monitoring is event monitoring. There’s a whole new level of services that can be offered and the opportunity is much bigger than security.”

Some key factors in the growth and demand for video technology include more stable and easier-to-deploy analytics in security cameras and corresponding software, sophisticated equipment in data and monitoring centers, and increasingly intelligent back-end devices, according to IHS Markit. Cloud architecture and efficiencies directed at video storage assets and computing power are further driving greater use and applicability, noted the research firm.

Video analytics handle the elements

Outdoor video monitoring may be the next great bastion of applications, especially as analytics and software progress, making it applicable for formerly tricky environments.

“The biggest trend is the advancement and adaptation of video analytics for camera systems,” said Brad Gordon, chief executive officer at Viewpoint Monitoring, Lowell, Mass. “Video analytics have been around for some time, but they have started to outperform expectations. The analytics work and they learn. ‘Train-by-example’ technology is built in and that’s the most exciting thing happening right now.”

What capabilities might video develop in the future? Business auditing and operations, machine processing and IoT for industrial and other targeted monitoring. Deep learning and artificial intelligence will only accelerate the use and deployment of surveillance beyond traditional security applications.

About the Author

Deborah L. O'Mara

Freelance Writer

Deborah L. O’Mara is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at dlocommunications@gmail.com...

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